Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team has dropped Kris Meeke for the Orlen 74th Rally Poland later this month.
He will be replaced by Andreas Mikkelsen, who finished eighth in a C3 on his debut with the French team at Rally Italia Sardegna this weekend.
Meeke won in Mexico, but the rest of his season has been a disaster. He rolled out of the lead in Italy on Friday, retired at the previous round in Portugal after swiping a rock and destroyed his C3 after two big rolls in Argentina.
He lies 10th in the championship at the season midpoint and team principal Yves Matton said Meeke agreed to step down for round eight on Poland’s fast gravel roads.
He explained, “After a series of disappointing results, we have asked Kris Meeke to take a step back for this next rally. Kris accepted that this would be in the best interests of the team and we’d like to thank him for his understanding.
“This break will give him the chance to recharge his batteries and release some of the pressure before preparing for Rally Finland. He won in Finland last year, after producing a perfect performance, so we hope he’ll come back stronger.”
Matton said the move would allow the team to continue working with Mikkelsen, who was drafted into the squad in Italy to replace Stéphane Lefebvre.
He added, “This first experience was more like a test session than a proper competitive outing. A second rally will give him the chance to use the things he has already learned to get closer to the leading guys.
“Moreover, he is particularly fond of Rally Poland since he won the event last year.”
Mikkelsen will be joined in Poland by Lefebvre and Craig Breen.